Sunday, December 24, 2006

Shanghai Nan Xiang Xiao Long, Seng Poh Rd, Singapore

This place is located across the road from the Tiong Bahru market and is run and owned by mainlanders. Although they claim to be from the "Nan Xiang Xiao Long Pao" place from Yu Yuan in Shanghai, I don't know how true this claim is. Having dined at Yu Yuan in Shanghai, I still feel that their xiao long paos are better but this place comes close and gives me my fix in Singapore when I get my xiao long pao cravings.

They know the sequence of serving cold dishes first here, unlike some other Chinese eateries in Singapore which tend to serve the dishes randomly (as long as dessert comes at the end; it's all good hah!). Cold wine chicken, fragrant and salty, this dish is great with beer in a hot and humid Shanghai summer or just daily Singapore weather haha.

Water duck, another cold dish here and also an ideal salty side-dish for beer.

Stir-fried gluten, it was my first time ordering this and it was probably the bummer dish tonight. I just felt that it tasted too sweet.

Stir-fried large pea-shoots with garlic. Freshly cooked and piping hot, a tasty stir-fried vegetable is always good.

Fried buns (Jian Bao), these were almost as good as the ones I had in Shanghai (Xiao Yang Jian Pao) and was full of soup as well. You have to be careful when you bite into these because although it has alot of soup in it like the xiao long pao, it's encased in a harder exterior which makes it more prone to "popping" and hence propelling the hot soupy contents over a greater distance with much more impact.

Their xiao long paos.

The skin was only very slight tough at the top today but everything else was just as good as I remembered. I'll opt to come here over Crystal Jade anytime.

Noodles aren't really their specialty but they still serve a rather decent hand-pulled noodle with spicy bean minced pork (zhe jiang la-mien). The noodles didn't stick together which in my opinion is one pre-requisite for a good noodle.

This dessert of the fermented rice wine grains with glutinous rice was very good. Fragrant and not too sweet, this was the first time I tried this here and was rather impressed.

Their red bean pancakes were also stellar tonight. The pastry used is the thin crispy sort which I prefer a lot more as opposed to the flakey sort. The filling was also smooth and didn't only taste sweet but I detected a slight honey flavor as well? I'm not sure if it's honey but it defintely tasted like a molasse-based sweetener.


p.s: Am rushing to the airport right after I click "publish". Will be away for half a month. More food stuff when I return!

Friday, December 22, 2006

ABC Brickworks Food Centre

This was my second time here here since their make-over and I was here specifically to try the popular "Yuan Yuan" Claypot. We started off with a platter of Chinese barbecued pork from the stall facing the bakery. This was pretty good barbecued pork with just enough honey glaze to give it a sweet fragrance and enough charred and fatty bits for that smokey and greasy taste.

The claypot that Yuan Yuan serves is not bad. It's definitely above average with generous portions of sausage, chicken and salted fish but somehow I still prefer the one from Old Mother Hen. Maybe there's something about the salted egg yolk in their claypot which I tend to appreciate.

The fried Hokkien noodle here is done slightly wet but I think it's wet mostly due to grease and not stock haha. Nevertheless, it was quite tasty indeed although there was hardly any seafood in it.

Picked up some chicken satays from a side stall within the Hokkien noodle stall. Chunky portions but I felt they could have been marinated just a bit longer.

We ordered some of the barbecued chicken wings from another satay stall as well for protein supplementation just to round off the meal.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Helio Cafe - Strawberry Week, Singapore

I'll always try to find some free time out of my schedule to sample some of the foods at Helio Cafe when they have a theme going on. I quite enjoyed the Chocolate Theme Week and was curious to know how Strawberry Theme Week would fare.

A meatier change for an appetizer was the chicken with apricots in a filo pastry basket. I enjoyed this a lot more than the flower salad that I had previously, but then again I'm a meat sort of person so I would have definitely appreciated this more. It's served cold but the light sauce with it does not overpower the taste of the fresh apricots and grilled chicken.

Baked salmon with portobello mushrooms, this is the second time I'm having this but it's always good.

Beef in red wine sauce, this may not look anything fancy and true, the cut wasn't a spectacular one but the flavor was excellent. I guess the true mark of a good cook is one who can make tasty dishes out of simple ingredients.

Clement was kind enough to provide us with some additional red wine sauce, the sauce is so rich and tasty it's almost like an "essence of beef and red wine" extract haha.

We started our course of desserts with the red wine jello with strawberries and yoghurt. This was light and refreshing but I found it only ok because I prefer my desserts rich (read as "fattening" haha).

Now we're talking, this apricot pudding was served hot and it's similar to lava cake because the residual batter within is still liquid and acts almost like a self-saucing pudding.

As you can see, Clement is very generous with the fresh apricots used in this.

Strawberry Cheese in Filo Pastry was another dessert from the theme.

The crisp and warm filo pastry encased a cold and rich strawberry cheese filling, simply heaven.

Ended off the meal with a Chocolate Strawberry Potpie. Strawberries and chocolate, what more could one ask for?


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Brazil Churrascaria, Sixth Ave, Singapore

There seem to be quite a few churrascaria joints in town right now but before all of them started popping up, Brazil Churrascaria at 14-16 Sixth Avenue has got to be first joint (please correct me if I'm wrong) to provide Singaporeans since 1994 with this ultimate South American meat fest.

The lime caipirinhas here are pretty good being not too sweet, sufficently sour and still full of that kick from the cachacha (a Brazilian alcohol distilled from sugar - somewhat similar to rum).

Freshly baked cheese dough balls were served as the starter. These are always welcomed and especially more so on such a gloomy, rainy day. Crisp on the outside with a nice cheesy doughy texture within, I like these so much that I usually sacrifice some meat-space by asking for another serve of this.

The side-dish of various salsas to go with your grilled meats. This actually helps you eat more meat and avoid that bloated feeling because of the vinegar which helps cut through that grease.

The concept here is pretty simple, the passadors (waiters with skewers of meats) just walk around and ask you if you want some. In which you politely reply, "Yes please and lots."

It's hard to find a favorite cut here but overall the red meats do outshine the others. The topside was very nicely grilled, the tenderloin was not too bad and I really enjoyed the rump despite its coarse texture. I always request for the exterior edges because I love that char-grilled taste and the only thing better than char-grilled meat is char-grilled fat!

The sausages deserve a special mention here because they're just so darn tasty and meaty. There is not flour filler in these weiners. Salty and spicy, the ultimate thing to go with your sweet and sour caipirinhas.

The beef rib deserves a special mention as well because this was the cut I was most disappointed with tonight. Not greasy, tender or salty enough. This looked as though it was boiled first and just put over the fire for a quick grill to be passed off as some charlatan of a grilled beef-rib.

I decided to sway away from the traditional lime caipirinhas for my last drink and ordered a strawberry one instead. Well, this wasn't too bad but I still prefer the contrast of the sour lime as opposed to just the straight-sweet strawberries. Maybe if they used some unripened strawberries, that could just add that sour twist.

I've tried quite a bit of churrascaria joints in town, I may be biased but so far I still think that Brazil Churrascaria is one of the best. I've not tried that one in the East yet but will make a trip over one day.


p.s: For the more health conscious, there is a salad bar with quite an extensive selection but despite coming here quite a few times, I've never actually ever taken anything from the salad bar! Salsa is technically a vegetable dish haha.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Noo Cheng Prawn Noodle, Adam Rd, Singapore

Although having frequent Adam Rd very regularly for supper, I've never actually tried the famous "big prawn" noodle, so I made it a point this time to give it a shot.

It came as a rather hearty dark colored broth and had one and a half big prawns, some shreds of pork and two pork ribs in it. The prawns were indeed quite big but I think I still prefer the one from Mei Chin Rd Food Centre, although I do have to remember to wake up later since they only start selling from 8AM!

I ordered a prawn soup instead of prawn noodles because I wanted to order some of my usual Adam Rd staples such as Malay fried noodles (mee goreng).

mutton chop,

Indian mutton soup (sup kambang)

and of course my usual ginger milk tea (teh halia).


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Old Mother Hen Again...

Had a friend in town and he was interested in visually checking out the Geylang strip. After awhile we were getting pretty hungry and I remembered having a pretty kickass meal at Old Mother Hen not too long ago. Not wanting to disappoint a visitor with some place new and untested, I found myself back there again. We ordered alot but I'll only feature those that I didn't feature previously to avoid repetition.

Deep-fried prawn paste chicken. This was done better than average and you could taste that this was well marinated. There were other cuts here besides just chicken wings as well. The batter could have been crispier and lighter though.

The spicy special beancurd is quite similar to their non-spicy version except that it comes in a spicy and slighty sweet chilli sauce. There are also chunks of century egg (eggs preserved in an alkaline mixture) on this.

Battered prawn fritters were next. This dish is such an 80s classic. I remembered that almost any catered function I went to during that time had these. The batter here was slightly too bready and thick for my liking but at least what it lost out on texture, it made up in taste.

Buttered deep-fried squid. This place does good deep-fried squid and after trying their salt and pepper squid previously, I decided to try this variant. The fine deep-fried egg shreds really add a nice touch to this.

Fish slices with ginger and spring onion. Too much ginger and spring onion, too little fish.

King of ribs, it was quite a refreshing change that they used short ribs here instead of the commonly used pork chop. Served with that sweet and sour tangy sauce, this was quite good indeed.

Stir-fried pig innards in black bean sauce. Although this innard is normally labelled as an anatomical part of the intestine, it's really actually the fallopian tube. This was alright, nothing really spectacular. My favorite pig innard dish is still deep-fried large pig intestines.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Zi Yean, Blk 56 Lengkok Bahru, Singapore

Zi Yean used to be located at Stirling Rd and an even longer time ago, it used to be along River Valley Rd. Now it has found home at Blk 56, Lengkok Bahru and is really two restaurants side-by-side. There is a more up-market airconditioned one and the open air coffeeshop style one which I chose to dine in this time.

Started off with a mint omelette. Ok, I did primarily order this because it sounded unusual but it wasn't anything spectacular; it was exactly what it was named after, just an omelette with mint leaves in it. In fact I don't think the egg mixture was mixed very well because some areas were very salty whilst others were quite bland.

Braised beancurd, this was quite nice. The sauce used had a depth and flavor that can only gotten from a good stock. The Chinese cabbage wasn't cooked till mushy and still retained some bite.

Beef brisket with Chinese radish. The brisket here is well stewed, tender to the bite without being too soft. This is the same brisket that they serve with their hand-pulled noodles (la mien) and comes in a thick, rich, beefy sauce.

The three-cup chicken dish is supposedly one of their specialties here and to give them credit, it is done quite well. A refreshing change from most places is that they do not only use chicken wings here. The sauce is also thick and sticky, evenly coating each chunk of crispy tender chicken.

Stir-fried Chinese broccoli with garlic. Fresh vegetables prepared in a hot wok, nothing really that could go wrong here.

All in the all the food at Zi Yean was not bad but it definitely wasn't mind-blowing either. It belongs to that list of "safe" eateries where you would go for a meal if you can't be bothered looking for somewhere else new.